Other than for the Daniel Jones injury, it was a rather uneventful week for the current holders of first place in the NFC East. Let's look back though on a few items that did develop.
1. I don’t know what it is/was that Giants defensive back James Bradberry was dealing with last week. And I don’t want to know as that’s his business.
From what head coach Joe Judge said about the matter, it left Bradberry conflicted regarding leaving the team for a day or two to take care of the situation instead of riding it out and remaining with his teammates. It sounded like Judge ended up encouraging Bradberry to take care of it, putting the veteran’s mind at ease over missing practices.
"I think it was difficult at first," he said. "Coming up with a decision if I was going to play or not, I saw the way Logan Ryan handled his situation. We had other guys that dealt with a similar situation that I was dealing with at the time. They were here every day. The coaches were here every day. I felt like I didn’t have an excuse to miss Sunday. I know I had to come back Sunday," he said.
I give Bradberry a lot of credit for handling whatever his situation is while remaining locked into what he needed to do to help his teammates win. Whatever it was obviously created enough concern on his part, yet when game day rolled around, he left his personal issues outside the door and delivered yet another fine performance.
That’s a leader, folks. That, among other factors, is what makes James Bradberry so worth his contract.
2. Day-gool-yell-mo. Got it. (I hope!)
3. I mentioned this on the Friday edition of the LockedOn Giants podcast, but I'll repeat it here. Daniel Jones's recovery from a hamstring injury is trending upward.
While I am 99.9% certain he won't play Sunday, let's go through the week so far that suggests he's very much on the mend and has a good chance of playing next weekend against the Cardinals.
On Wednesday, Jones not only didn't practice, but he wasn't spotted outside with the team, the belief being that he was working with trainers and getting an aggressive therapy of rehab. That was to be expected.
Then on Thursday, although Jones didn't practice again, this time, he was outside dropping back and throwing passes and working with a horizontal band to create some light resistance. Although Jones didn't do any running during the part of practice open to the media, this is still yet another positive sign.
The clincher for me was when head coach Joe Judge said he plans to let Jones travel with the team to Seattle on what's close to a six-hour plane ride, a long time for anyone to be seated, and especially one with a hamstring issue.
Now, of course, something could pop up, as Judge said that might derail that plan, but if Jones's hamstring were that bad, I highly doubt him traveling across the country would even be up for contemplation.
The bottom line here is that the game plan is in place, and it's presumably been tailored to what Colt McCoy can do well.
While there can be last-minute additions, it's best for Jones to take a seat and watch as when he went back in the game after initially getting injured, his leg locked up to the point where Judge had to decide to protect Jones from himself.
4. One of the things I have been screaming about since the start of the season was for the Giants to get fullback Eli Penny more involved in the offense.
Well, my screams must have been heard by the right people. After topping out with a total of five snaps on offense twice this season, the last two weeks, Penny has seen 24 snaps. That's four shy of what he's gotten in the first nine games of the season, and an increase that I can't help but wonder is related to the COVID-19 virus having hit offensive lineman Matt Peart and tight end Kaden Smith.
Whatever the reason, Penny made the most of his opportunities as a run blocker and is a big reason why the Giants have seen a positive spike in converting third- and fourth-and-short and goal-line situations.
"They are hard situations, there’s no doubt about that," said offensive coordinator Jason Garrett. "Eli has been a really good player for us. Whatever we have asked him to do, he goes in and plays and is effective."
Indeed, on third down with two or fewer yards to go, the Giants have converted eight out of 12 short-yardage rushing attempts, two of those conversions by Penny. And on fourth down with two or fewer yards to go, they've converted four out of six rushing attempts.
"As a blocker, as a runner, he’s just a good football player," Garrett said of Penny. "He’s one of those guys that as a coaching staff you’re always saying, we have to find ways to get him more opportunities. Typically, good things happen when he’s out there."
Like first downs.
5. Saqon Barkley insists he's not thinking about his next contract, and I believe him. And he shouldn't be thinking about it either as there are too many unknowns right now, ranging from how strong he'll come back from his ACL tear to what the salary cap is going to look like next year.
I have given some thought to this situation, though. The Giants could take the same approach they took with Odell Beckahm Jr when he was returning from a broken ankle. Beckham, who at the time was looking at playing on the option year of his rookie deal, ended up showing the team all it needed to see despite never getting into a game, and he got his extension.
I don't think the Giants will do the same thing for Barkley, not just because of the uncertainties with the salary cap but also because a ligament injury is a lot different than a broken bone.
But here's the dilemma the Giants face if they let Barkle go through an entire season without extending him. The following off-season, they'll potentially be looking at having to extend Daniel Jones and Dexter Lawerence II, and again, who knows if the salary cap will be back to normal by then.
Here's what I think will happen. Barkley will not start the 2021 season with a new deal. But if he looks strong and stays healthy and if the Giants get the windfall of cap space that I'm projected in my preliminary look at the cap (that article is coming down at a later date), I can't see why they wouldn't do Barkley's extension toward the back half of the season.
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